Meals

How I Get My Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegatables

Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat fruits and vegetables? Here's how to get them to eat more of them.

My kids love to eat fruits and vegetables. And I often get asked how I get my kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Here’s how…

Let Them Help Make It

When they help make meals, let them help. If they are the ones making the salad, they’ll be more inclined to try it. Have them help make a veggie tray or fruit salad. Make dips with either. Kids love to dip fruits or vegetables. You can use a ranch dip or peanut butter with a variety of vegetables or even the peanut butter with apples is a favorite treat at my house. There’s great dips for fruit too.

Praise Them

Make sure everyone know what recipe was made and by who. “And we have these wonderful candies carrots made by Johnny. ” or “Susie made the salad tonight.” Also, when we make salads, we always put all the extras in different bowls and they can pick their own toppings.

When they try a new fruit or vegetable, praise them. “Good job eating your peas.”

Make them try it. We have a rule you have to try a little just to be polite. And a lot of foods thy need to try several times to like it.

Let Them Pick It Out

When you go to the store let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable. We’ve tried some very different ones we might not have ever tried by doing this. We only get one or a small bit if it comes in lbs and everybody tries it. Some are great and we add them in our menus and some are flops. But you don’t know unless you try.

Garden

We have almost always had a garden and the kids have always helped. They love picking them and showing me the vegetable that “they” grew. It’s much easier to get them to try something new that they helped with and they grew. The only thing you have to watch out for is they will eat everything and you won’t get any for dinner. Smile. We grew sugar snap peas and the kids ate every one before they even came in the house. And I have one daughter who even now will eat every cherry tomato she can.

Hide Them

You an sneak fruits and vegetables into a lot of different meals. I put a lot of shredded vegetables in my spaghetti sauce. Zucchini has very little taste and can be added to many things. Butternut squash can be added to any cheese sauce. I have also dried vegetables and added them thicken sauces.

What ways do you do to get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables?

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Top 10 Products for Getting Meals on the Table

Top 10 Products for Getting Meals on the Table

Mom life is hard. Getting everyone fed, with healthy foods, and on a budget is even harder. So I’m sharing my favorite products to make your life and dinners a little easier.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.” 

Instant Pot

As you know from my last post, that I love my Instant Pot. I can cook cheaper cuts of meat that fall apart that when you pick them up, they’re that tender. And if I forget to thaw it, you can put your meat in and still have dinner, only a little bit later.

Accessories

This accessory pack has the basics you will use. I love making the sou-vide egg bites and trying different flavors. The springform pan makes cheesecake a breeze. Making rich flavorful stock with the steamer basket is a cinch since all you do is pull out the basket. Yum, Stock ready and waiting for you.B

Stack N’ Cook Pans

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these Stack N’ Cook pans. I make custard in them almost every week. All kinds of casseroles, quiches, puddings and reheating leftovers go in these pans. It has 2 lids, 1 has holes to let the steam out. And they stack so you can have different foods in each pan.

Food Sealer

I use my food sealer to save money. When I buy meat by the case, I repackage it in meal-sized portions. You can also cook directly in the bags. I have a marinade container that quickly infuses meats.

Slow Cooker

I use my slow cooker to start supper after breakfast. I make up a lot of freezer meals and then, it’s just dumping and cook. And coming in after being out of your home; the smells are incredible.

Stand Mixer

Having a stand mixer makes cooking faster, easier and uses more variety. Cakes, breads, pies, muffins and you can even shred your cooked chicken in your mixer. I can leave it mixing and work on another part of dinner while it’s kneading my bread.

Freezer Meals

Mega Cooking is my all time favorite for freezer cooking.

Both of these cookbooks not only have the main dishes but sides, desserts, and sauces. I use them all the time. Not Your Mother’s Freezer Book also has meal plans done for you.

Imersion Blender

I use my Immersion Blender to use in a hurry or for small jobs in the kitchen. But my favorite way to use this is in pureeing soups. I puree part of the vegetables to thicken the soup instead of using a thickener. More veggies in for healthier eating.

Vitamix

I have had a Vitamix for over 20 years. They make quick healthy smoothies, pulverizing the ice so it’s just nice and creamy. Fruit ice cream, soups, sauces, mayo just to name a few of the many dishes that can be made in your Vitamix.

What are your favorite products for getting meals on the table?

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Cooking in a Really Small Kitchen

I learned so many tips  cooking in our small camper kitchen!

We have moved and are living in a  camper this summer. Our camper has a very small kitchen with teeny tiny counters. So while  I love to cook I have had to get very creative. My instant pot has become my best friend. Both because it takes the place of many different appliances in the kitchen and because it is cooler cooking with it in the kitchen.


So here are some tips on cooking in a really small kitchen.


Eliminate unnecessary items in the kitchen

Make sure everything that is in your kitchen you’ll actually use. A lot. I have packed many of the items I only use on occasion like cake decorating supplies and specialty pans. I packed most of my bigger pans and duplicates away too. I also only kept out about half of my utensils. I just have to wash dishes more. But since we don’t have a dishwasher, that way I have to keep up with it too

. Make what is in your kitchen do double duty.

As I said my Instant Pot is my best friend in the kitchen. I have made roasts in it; taco meat, custards, cakes, potatoes, eggs, breakfast casseroles, and so many more things. Just search for IP recipe of whatever you are looking for. You can find either a Youtube video or recipe for just about anything you want to make. My daughter wants to try steamed bread next week.

Keep Up with the Cleaning

Make sure you keep up with the dishes. When you only have two feet of counter space you don’t want it covered up with dirty dishes. Keep the dishes washed after every meal. I know it’s something that I should have always done but it hasn’t always been. But when there’s not a dishwasher and you have to look at them you’ll be glad for empty sinks and counters. I’m hoping this habit will carry over to our new house.


Watch How Much You Buy

The hardest thing for me cooking in a small kitchen is not actually in the kitchen. It’s in the grocery store. I have to watch how much I buy. I used to love stocking up on great bargains. But it’s not a great bargain if you have no room for it or end up throwing it out. And that’s no matter what size your kitchen is.


Simpler Cooking

While I love to cook, camper life is not always conducive to gourmet or even large recipes. I’ve learned to cook pizza on the grill. I didn’t want to turn on the oven when it’s 90 degrees. We make a lot of grilled meats for easy cooking. I make a lot of 1 pot meals either in the Instant Pot or on the stove. We try not to turn on the oven.  I still want to eat healthy though so it’s not all sandwiches and s’mores. If it’s not a one-pot meal it’s usually a grilled meat and vegetable and maybe rice or potatoes for the children. I try to keep fruits and vegetables on hand for snacks.

Be Thankful for the Kitchen You Have

While I know my kitchen is temporary, I know many of you have permanent tiny kitchens. My daughter, when she moved into her apartment felt ready to cry when she saw her kitchen. It’s very small. But she is efficient and makes the most of what space she has. She even puts meals up in her freezer each month. She uses a seal a meal to make as much as possible fit in her freezer at a time. She uses her kitchen very efficiently.

So, what tips do you have for cooking in a really small kitchen?

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Discount Store Shopping

I’ve gotten some great deals at our local discount stores lately. I came home with an entire cart full, underneath t with 4 cases of Zavia for only a $1 each and we still carried eggs at a dollar a flat and 50 pounds of onions.  Here’s How you can get great deals discount store shopping too. too.

Different Kinds of discount Stores

I shop at several kinds of discount stores. I’ve found clothing, furniture and groceries depending on where I go. And knick knacks. Definitely, too many knick knacks.

Thrift Shops

You can shop at Goodwill or Salvation Army for clothing, dishes, artwork, bedding and so much more. Don’t forget to check out churches that have stores in your area too. Some may have limited hours but usually great deals.

Home Goods

Habitat for Humanity had Restores where they sell house furnishings and things to make your home better. I’ve had great deal on rugs there. hey regularly get hotel furnishings like headboards and nightstands. Office furnishings like desks are plentiful and even appliances. They also have boxes of flooring that are usually new. Just buy extra because when you go back it probably won’t be there.

Grocery Discount Stores

These are my favorite. Probably because I buy more groceries than furniture or clothes. You need to know normal sales prices in your area because sometimes the prices at the discount store as in your regular grocery store. But you can find tremendous deals. I just found out that our discount grocery store marks produce down on Friday afternoons. They are only open half day on Saturdays and not open again till Tuesday. So I got aparagus for $1 a case and strawberries at $1 a flat.

Tips for Shopping at Discount stores

Buy now if you want it. It’s not like department stores where they’ll get another shipment in. And it probably won’t be there when you go back.

Buy extra if its there for a project but…

Returns

Check their return policy. Some places they have a no returns, some have store credit only. You need to find out when you buy it.

Budget

Set a budget. There are some days I sdee so many great deals I would definitely go overboard on my spending. need a budget amount I can spend. Now, I also save it if I don’t find anything there for the next time.

Days and Times

Know your hours and days. Most discount stores have more limited hours than regular stores. So always check ahead.

Learn Their Sales Cycle

Learn their sales patterns. Goodwill always have half off dsys. Salvation Army has different sale days by category. So if you want a certain category go on that day. Leqrn when they mark down items, like the grocery discount above where they mark down produce on Friday. I do that in regular stores also by asking when they mark down their meats.

Make list

Make a list of what you are looking for. It’s great to browse and fihd great deals but you may end up with a lot of things you don’t need just because it was so cheap. Like I have 20 cans of coconut milk in my cupboard when they were 5 for a dollar. Then I looked up recipes. But make sure you find what’s on your list first and then add in those great buys.

Be Flexible

And although it seems to be counter to the last tip, you need to be flexible. Because you never know when you can get strawberries for $1 a flat.

Have a Space for it

It’s no good to buy all these great deals if you don’t have a place to put it. I have seen so many deals I’ve had to pass up because  I just don’t have room. Even worse, I’ve had stuff spoil because I didn’t have as much freezer room as I thought. But I have bought things in mind by just giving them away. I’ve gotten things so cheap even with what we gave away what we had left was still cheap and I was able to bless others.  Tuesday we got a box of 20 pounds of doughnuts for $2! I was able to give more than half away and we still have a great treat!

Pray before you go.

I pray over my list and ask God to help me use our money in the best way possible. I know I have been blessed many times because of it.

There you go. Many more ways to save money. How many of you have used discount stored? Please put which is your favorite in the comments below. Or put your greatest find there.

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Cutting Costs in the Kitchen- When Menu Planning Doesn’t Go as Planned

Cutting Costs in the Kitchen- When Menu Planning Doesn't Go as Planned

Meal Planning

I actually love to meal planning. I have all kinds of meal plans, including 6 weeks of Trim Healthy Mama meals plans, 2 months worth of Weight Watcher meal plans, not to mention all the meal plans I have previously made. My problem is follow through. I love to make meal plans but I don’t follow it. Part of it is that doesn’t sound good today  Sometimes I lose them or forget to check it.  A lot of it is lack of discipline but I think most of it is just because I learned it differently.

Organize

In my previous post Cutting Cost in the Kitchen – Meats    I talked about following sales cycles and buying meat for rock bottom prices. Now I know I have more freezer space than the average person and right now they’re messy. I try and straighten them out about once a month but it’s been about 3 due to surgery. I have 2 fridges with small freezers on the top and a small chest freezer that I hate. What I really want an upright freezer since they would be so much easier to organize. In my mind, it is always looks organized and styled with pretty bins and I can find everything. But since I don’t have one, I keep an inventory list. I keep a list with boxes with a line through it for inventory and had a line to make an x when I use it. Then,  I add in boxes or a new line with the item when I buy more. I also keep ( what is actually for photos) a book with index cards for meals. I use this for my kind of meal planning.

My KInd of Plan

As I said I don’t plan anymore in the traditional sense but I do plan ahead. I keep freezer inventory of main dishes and meats since that’s what we use for dinner. I have my little “photo planner” that is filled with index cards. My first one says menu plan. Serve 1 main dish category, salad, side or starch, vegetable,  and bread. Now, this may seem excessive to you. In fact, I am trying to serve less and simplify a lot of things this year and am starting with this. I was taught this by my grandmother and she was a farmers wife. And the menu for thrashing parties and hay balers was twice as much. But we don’t need to eat like farm hands.  I saw Gordon Ramsey’s Ultimate Home Cooking on Hulu. He only serves 2-3 dishes per meal. And he’s a chef!!  So I decided if he did that small for meals I could at least try to do that also.

Menu Index Book

My menu index card also has “suggestions” for each day of the week. Example- Monday-Chicken; Tuesday- Pork or Fish; Wednesday- Italian; Thursday- Mexican; Friday is Pizza and movie night; Saturday we try and do a big breakfast, the same with Sunday. Saturday is beef for supper and Sunday dinner is chicken, usually something in the crockpot. For lunch or supper on the weekend that I don’t make a big meal, we usually have leftovers or soup. I make a big pot on the weekend and freeze the rest so we can always have soup. I have 4 different kinds in my freezer now.

Anyway, I have index cards for categories with our family favorites in each.

Salads

Main Dish Salads

Soups

Sandwiches

Lunches

Snacks

Sides

Bread

Chicken

Italian

Mexican

Beef

Pork

Fish

The last cards are for hospitality. And I covered that here.

 

Daily Meal Routine

So then that day, while I’m cooking dinner, I think about the next day. And I pull out of the freezer whatever I want for the next day. Then I cross it off my list. Somedays the children pull what they want for the next night. I do have a plan as listed above that I sometimes follow but I have the flexibility to change.  I keep both my pantry and my freezer stocked so that I can plan meals from the staples and meals I have in there. Since I have the main ingredients it makes it easier. Now I know doing this all at the beginning of the week would probably be the smartest thing to do. I have read books on meal planning.  I know it makes sense. But if you’re like me and have trouble following it, try this way of “planning”.

What do you do for meal planning?

 

 

 

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